Wagga group bids to make the city a test site for driverless cars

Chang-Tsun Li from CSU, Phil May from Committee 4 Wagga, IT consultant Joshua Stocks and Mark Rook from PDK.
Chang-Tsun Li from CSU, Phil May from Committee 4 Wagga, IT consultant Joshua Stocks and Mark Rook from PDK.

Imagine a system of driverless cars making their way around Wagga’s central business district as part of a high-tech park-and-ride scheme.

It could become more than the stuff of futuristic daydreams if a Wagga bid to become a test site for a Transport for NSW project is successful.

A group of Wagga businesses and organisations has pulled together to build the case for Wagga’s suitability as a test site for a driverless car project by developed by Transport for NSW.

Phil May, the chief executive officer of Committee4Wagga, and Chang-Tsun Li from Charles Sturt University, said becoming involved in the project would offer Wagga a chance to begin to build a reputation as a “smart city”.

Professor Li, who looked at a similar project while in Coventry in the UK, said Wagga’s opportunities to build on the success could be global.

But for now, the group has until March 19 to complete a submission to Transport for NSW. They could know as early as May as to whether their bid has been successfully shortlisted.

If it is successful, teams from Wagga engineering and IT firms will come on board to work with Professor Li and CSU to build both the car and the technology needed to run it.

Initial trials would be conducted at CSU, but eventually the trials would be moved into Wagga’s central business district.

Mark Rook of PDK, a Wagga telecommunications business, said a great deal of the techology needed to operate the system was already in place around Baylis and Fitzmaurice streets.

Mr May can see practical advantages in developing a park-and-ride scheme, which could run between Wagga Beach and Bolton Park, getting shoppers and workers around the city’s central business district without them needing to worry about parking.

He also sees applications for used by aged care providers, linking their facilities to medical facilities or Wagga’s recreational spots.

“We want Wagga to have access to the knowledge and skills that enables the city to make informed technological choices. Should we be successful with our application, we will enhance our local technological capability,” Mr May said.

“The trial represents a great opportunity to partner with Transport for NSW in delivering a project that will put Wagga on the path towards becoming a smart city.”

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